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Sheriff leaving Dems; cites leftward shift, anti-police stance
Thursday, 01 November 2018 22:49

From Staff Reports

Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan announced in mid-October that he officially has left the Democratic Party, registering as “unaffiliated.”

He noted that his departure was prompted by the party’s leftward shift and anti-law enforcement stance, which Duncan said he finds troubling,

Duncan, 54, who is retiring at the end of November after serving as sheriff for 12 years, said part of his decision to not run again came down to the party he has been a member of most of his life shifting too far to the left.

“If I had to get down to the crux of the issue, there’s just an anti-law enforcement sentiment in the Democratic Party right now,” Duncan told the Asheville Citizen Times. “For somebody who works in the profession, I think a lot of it is based on a false narrative — not that there’s not wrongs to be righted and issues that happen that need to be corrected with law enforcement — but it’s almost like everybody gets painted with that same brush, even though they’re trying their best to do a good job for the community.”

Duncan told the ACT it’s “very demoralizing” for local police officers to work under those conditions.

“I just didn’t want to be part of that — didn’t want my name attached to that.” 

A new sheriff will be elected in November and take office Dec. 3 from a trio of candidates that include Democrat Quentin Miller, Republican Shad Higgins and Libertarian Tracey DeBruhl.

Duncan, who said he registered as a Democrat when he became old enough to vote, said he will make not endorse a candidate, as he does not want “to pre-load” the transition with potential conflict.

Jeff Rose, chairman of the Buncombe County Democratic Party, told the ACT on Oct. 12 that he regretted to hear of Duncan’s departure, but he also believes Duncan is conflating national events and stories with the local party, which, he contended, has not seen an extreme leftward shift.

It is “unfortunate,” Rose said, noting that Duncan “is using that as a gauge of where we are locally.”



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